Astarte, QID launch JV targeting N American mid-market

The new firm will seek to raise $1.5bn to invest across a range of subsectors, including water treatment, waste management, decarbonisation ‘anything that leads towards a net-zero economy’ Astarte’s Siokos says.

UK real assets investment firm Astarte Capital Partners has teamed up with Quintana Infrastructure & Development, a Houston-based infrastructure investor and operator, to launch a mid-market-focused firm focusing on North America.

Quintana Adaptive Infrastructure Capital, in which Astarte and QID will own 30 and 70 percent, respectively, will focus primarily on “the infrastructure verticals of data and technology, industrial and environmental, decarbonisation and energy transition”, Astarte said in a statement.

Stavros Siokos, co-founder and managing partner of Astarte, provided some examples of the types of subsectors QAI will invest in.

“As the world is changing and we’re paying more attention to things like waste management, renewable energy, energy transition, we need more investment in these areas,” he told Infrastructure Investor. “We have all these changes happening with people moving either because of covid or other reasons outside of big city centres. That means we will not only be focusing on smart and digital infrastructure within cities but also on improving the infrastructure (eg, fibre optic networks) in rural communities more than ever before,” he continued.

“So, as society is changing whether from a macroeconomic point of view or because of the pandemic or because of energy needs, with QAI we are looking to provide the infrastructure needed for these changes.”

QAI will target equity investments of $20 million to $80 million. According to the statement, its strategy will involve developing greenfield and brownfield assets into operating companies as well as acquiring mature assets and repositioning or repurposing them into platforms.

Asked to elaborate on the latter point, Siokos explained: “Take waste management for instance. There are a lot of places where waste management is happening but probably not to the highest ESG standards. We would be willing to step in, build new ones or buy existing plants and take them to the next level of where they should be. It’s an open agenda, as long as it focuses on QAI’s strategy.”

Decarbonisation and energy transition are also part of the new firm’s mandate, and according to Siokos, “anything that leads towards a net-zero economy is something we’re really focusing on”, whether it’s carbon capture, recycling or renewable energy generation.

“At Astarte, we have done decarbonisation in forestry all the way down to storing carbon in different forms. So, we’ll see what opportunities exist and then decide which ones to pursue. But we always target sectors where we can have the biggest impact,” he said.

According to Siokos, each firm brings something different to the partnership. Astarte will be responsible for fund operations, product and business development and implementing an ESG framework it has already developed, while QID “will focus on asset management and executing on a great proprietary deal flow it has access being based in Houston, the biggest energy hub in the US”. Both partners will be responsible for fundraising. The new firm will be led by QID chief executive Will Robertson.

Partnering with QID to launch Quintana Adaptive Infrastructure Capital is in line with Astarte’s strategy, which aside from investing in infrastructure, energy transition, real estate and natural capital includes serving as an anchor investor in emerging managers.